Here at BPI Sports, we understand that in this male-dominated industry, it’s important to make sure women still have a voice. Continuing our tribute to Women’s Health Week, we interviewed one of our own employees, Lauren Bordelon, about how she stays healthy and happy:
How did you get into powerlifting?
I was coming out of an Olympic lifting meet and off of a 4-month, 14-pound cut. I was worn out, tired, and felt weaker than ever, even though I put up bigger numbers at the meet than I expected. I was discouraged from training sessions where I was hurting, and tired from lack of food (probably lack of mobility as well). I just wanted a break. My boyfriend (now also my coach) owns an Iron Sport gym – he’s a state record holder for deadlift in Powerlifting and his almost 10-year passion for the sport made me want to give it a try. I figured, I’ll take a little break. That was in October, and since then I’ve competed in two Powerlifting meets and don’t have any intention, any time soon, on going back to Olympic lifting!
Tell us a bit more about your competition history.
In 2012, I wanted to make a change. I was a sophomore in college and had spent the last 4-5 years of my life running for exercise. It was stress relieving and at the time, it worked well for me. Unfortunately, I developed knee issues and my physical therapist told me in order to keep my knees from hurting, I had to keep my quads strong. Alas, I started lifting. In a matter of 4 years I went from your average gym rat, to competitive Crossfitter, to Olympic lifter, and now Powerlifter. Competing in each was vital for me, as having a goal kept me motivated. Without a goal, I felt I had no direction. Now, I compete in the 57kg (125.5lb) weight class the USA Powerlifting Federation. My best meet numbers are Squat: 225, Bench: 132, Deadlift: 303.
How do you train?
My training is simple, but intense. From October to April, all I did was squat, bench, and deadlift. That’s it – no accessory work. I was able to add 25 pounds to my squat, 10 pounds to my bench, and 50 pounds to my deadlift by strictly training those three things. The volume was high, lifting three days a week, squatting and benching each of the three, and deadlifting once a week. And the weight? Never light. Top sets consisted of 3×3 or 5×3 at 85-95% of my max most days. When I first saw my program, I remember thinking, “This is going to be so easy.” Well, no. Chronic soreness was real for a very long time. I was sore in places I’d never been sore before, because I was focusing more on engaging muscle groups that I never really had to target in Olympic lifting.
What do you eat?
I believe in flexible dieting. I’m the type of person who likes to be in control of as many things as are reasonable, and I feel flexible dieting is perfect for me. I’ve been counting macros for just over a year (carb cycling). I started counting macros when I decided I wanted to cut an entire weight class (from 128 to 116) for an Olympic lifting meet. I decided to stick with counting macros post-cut because I’m able to enjoy a tablespoon of Nutella post work out if I want to, but also eat all of the healthy things I enjoy as well. Additionally, with powerlifting, I have to stay within a certain weight around meets because of the weight class I choose to compete in. Currently, I’m training to qualify for Raw National Championships in October in the 57kg weight class, so tracking my food is vital. Mostly, I aim to make sure I eat enough protein daily. I’m not as strict on the weekends because I do believe in a balance, and often am not home. My go-to, high-carb day for training consists of: rice, oatmeal, low-fat proteins, Greek yogurt, and an egg sandwich post-workout. Low carb days I fill with lots of micro-nutrients (fruits, veggies, etc.) and rice cakes. Pro tip: sugar-free ketchup on top of all lean protein.
What supplements do you use?
My go-to supplements are Best BCAA™ and 1 M.R™. I have a hard time drinking enough water, and BCAAs have been great and refreshing pre, intra, and post workout. BCAAs have also really helped in my recovery, as I usually only have one day between each training day. 1 M.R™ really gives me that push as my training has kicked up a notch from basic squat, bench, deadlift to now incorporate accessory work after my volume lifts.
I also like to make protein waffles with ISO HD™ in Peanut Butter Candy Bar. 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 scoop ISO HD™ protein, and water to consistency. Add sugar-free syrup and you’ve got one of my favorites for low-carb days. The same recipe will yield pancakes as well!
Are there any supplements you can’t use?
USAPL is a very strict powerlifting federation, and they drug test top lifters at meets. In USAPL, there are 265 banned substances, so most lifters choose to stay on the safe side and use products that are NSF Certified for Sport. While BPI is not on that list, I chose to take the time to search for each ingredient on the banned substance list. None of the ingredients in Best BCAA™, 1.M.R™ or the proteins are banned. Therefore, I use BPI supplements daily.
What’s your favorite thing about powerlifting?
The powerlifting community, especially for women, is uplifting and inspiring. There is no cattiness at meets, everyone is supporting each other. I come off the platform and a stranger will say, “That was amazing!” or “Great job out there,” even if I’m competing in the same weight class.
Is there anything else you want to share with all the women out there?
As a human, and a female, I have insecurities. Sure, cutting 14 pounds made me feel like I looked the best I’d ever looked. I remember telling my nutrition coach, “This is the best shape I’ve ever been in in my entire life.” Looking back now, I’m sad I thought that. I was tiny. I didn’t even look like I lifted anymore, and I had been lifting for over 4 years! I wasn’t strong. The only thing I was happy about was my flat stomach in the morning with the appearance of slightly chiseled obliques. I went to bed hungry most nights and didn’t eat until almost 1 p.m. every day so I could have a shorter window between meals that only totaled 1000 calories at the end of the day.
Powerlifting has changed the way I view my body. I realize that having a certain, healthy amount of body fat is absolutely vital. Every single day I find myself less and less concerned with how I look, and more happy and excited about how much stronger I’ve gotten. Bear in mind, I reverse dieted out of that cut (from 116 to 125, I’m 5’1), which took about 4 months, and by no means do I feel like I’m “fat.” I added back muscle, and my body composition is very different from the last time I was 125. I now feel like this is the best shape I’ve ever been in, and I’m the strongest I’ve ever been.